How to Hydro Dip Helmets
The hydro dip is a unique process that allows the application of images or graphics to three-dimensional surfaces. The hydro dip is also known as immersion printing, water transfer printing, or hydro printing. Hydro dip has been used to decorate virtually everything imaginable, including helmets.
Hydro dipping a helmet is relatively easy to learn with fulfilling results. However, you need to adhere to the protocols of each step. Your overall success or failure in getting an impressive print on your helmet depends on how well you execute each step. Discussed below are steps to follow when you want to hydro dip your helmet.
Identify the Print
You need to buy the film with the print that you want on your helmet.
Clean the Helmet
Though the helmet may be new, make sure that the surfaces to be printed are sparkling clean. Use 91% isopropyl alcohol and clean surfaces with cleaning cloths. While cleaning, we suggest that you wear gloves to avoid recontamination of the helmet.
Choose the correct primer for the helmet. The right primer will ensure proper adhesion of the paint. Apply the primer on the helmet evenly on all the areas to be printed.
Base Coat Application
Now that you have chosen the pattern, choose the appropriate base coat. Ensure that you apply the base coat evenly on the helmet’s surface. The base color is critical because it will determine the final look of the helmet.
Film Placement on the Water
Put the film with the print on the water surface. For perfect transfer of the print impressions, ensure that the water temperature is 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Take caution that there is no air trapped between the film and the water surface.
Hydration of the Film
Allow the film to absorb water by waiting for 60-90 seconds after placing it in water.
Holding the spray gun at approximately 8-12 inches from the water surface, spray the activator from side to side in quick successions. Ensure even coverage of the exercise. The spraying speed determines the amount of activator being deposited.
Wait for five seconds after spraying the activator. On the expiry of the duration, gently dip the helmet at an angle of 30-40 degrees. Ensure the helmet is completely submerged.
Rinse any residual PVA of the film off the surface of the helmet. You can do this using a light spray or running water from the tap. Take caution if you choose to use running water from the tap. Ensure the tap water does not hit the helmet’s printed area directly with pressure; this can potentially compromise your print.
Dry the Helmet
You have two options for drying the print, convection heating or air drying. We recommend you use convection heating because it is done at a lower temperature and yields sharper results if you are in a hurry.
Application of Clear Coat
The application of clear coat helps seal in the inks allowing for a shiny enhanced pattern on your helmet. You have a choice of three variants of clear coats to choose from: matte, semi-gloss, or high gloss. You may apply an optional second clear coat on your helmet for it to stand out from the rest.